Steven David Elliot hasn’t had a listing appointment in over a year. But he’s on track to do over 75 transactions in 2016.
So how’d that happen, you ask? Well fret no longer because I sat down with him to find out.
I met with Steven because he has a truly unique strategy to build his real estate business in Raleigh, North Carolina. He hosts local events.
And I don’t mean events for 30 or 40 people. Steven gets upwards of 1000 people to his events on a regular basis. These aren’t real estate focused events or even events focused on Steven himself. His strategy is subtly brilliant: he is the host, the organizer and the facilitator and his goal is to help others shine. In turn, he earns their loyalty and ultimately, their real estate business.
When Steven told me his networking method, I smiled. I tell people everyday that if you’re in or want to be in sales, you’ve got to be able to wear many hats, and the hat of event planner is probably one of the most important. With so many events to go to and 24 hours in a day, how do you get in front of everyone at the same time and how do you even know which event to attend? You make them come to YOU. You host the event, you invite the people and you meet everyone you want and need to meet in one single session — and Steven has mastered this.
And the tool he uses to mastermind all this is all is social media. Which is free, mind you. He’s not paying out the nose for lists, postcards or commercials. In fact, the only platform he pays for is Adwerx.
“I utilize Facebook and Meetup.org. I have a full system that utilizes ambassadors throughout the community,” Steven told me. And his Meetup group was just recognized by Meetup corporate as one of the most successful groups in the world.
It’s structured around a local referral and recommendations Facebook group that he curates, which currently has nearly 5000 members. Then Steven creates unique pages for each of his networking events, which are then shared on his group page and by the vendors who are offering wares, hosting or being featured.
This system was the driver for Steven’s foray into real estate. He’d been a social worker and then a successful bookstore owner (remember bookstores?). But in marketing that store, he realized he had greater success in lifting others up rather than focusing on his own business. And that became the crux of his networking model that serves him so well today.
It’s all about providing value, he told me. Being valuable to others so they will in turn be valuable to you.
“My network events provide all my vendors,” he said. “if I’m preparing a listing for sale, I can have three movers, or four stagers and they keep it moving along. They know I help them with their business and want them to succeed, so they go over and above my for clients.”
So I asked Steven — if I had only $200 to spend on marketing and lead generation, what would you recommend I do? And I absolutely loves his answer!
“Buy a great pair of shoes,” he answered. “Perception is everything. Put gas in your car and shoes on your feet and get out there and work.”
I love this message for so many reasons. As I told Steven in the interview, “working” doesn’t mean sitting at a desk for me — and doesn’t mean it for many real estate agents. I’m out and about, working my network, meeting with clients and making it happen. And that’s what Steven does with his events.
Watch the full interview for more details on how Steven builds his brand and nurtures his network — and don’t forget to subscribe for all the interviews!
Here’s what you’ll find in this episode:
0:55 How did you come up with the idea of building a network
2:24 How does growing other people’s network help you grow your business?
3:11 How do you get a thousand people to come to your event?
4:35 What makes your events so special?
5:41 Why don’t you use a team model?
6:56 What’s your secret to organization?
7:34 What would you do if social media disappeared? What old school method would use?
8:55 Which came first, real estate or event networking?
10:30 If I had $200, what would you suggest I buy?
12:35 Do you focus more on your brand than your business and leads?
14:49 Do you prefer working with buyers or sellers?
15:51 What was your first year as an agent like? What were your goals?
16:31 Is there a downside to the networking or backlashYou from other agents?
17:31 How do you create your work life balance?
21:30 What’s your recommendation for agents just starting out?
24:43 How do you sell yourself?
26:43: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?